16 January 2014

Voucher scratching for dummies

Barnet variation - scratch with a pen & lose £60
Some problems just don't go away.

Back in October, Mr Mustard blogged about the senseless policy of giving a parking ticket (PCN) to anyone who had the temerity to scratch out the panels on a visitor voucher (or parking voucher) using a pen instead of a coin.

Following his email debate with one the parking managers NSL were instructed to tell traffic wardens not to issue a PCN if someone had used a pen to mark off the voucher instead of a coin as clearly the voucher could not be used twice and that is all that matters.

Fast forward to 13 December and what happens? yes, you guessed it another pen scratched voucher leads to the issue of a PCN. Representations were sent in by the motorist and rejected and then he turned to Mr Mustard. Following an email from Mr Mustard to a parking manager NSL and its traffic wardens are again being reminded not to issue PCN in such circumstances. if you are affected do send an email to mrmustard@zoho.com and he will assist you.

What does this tell us about outsourcing? That when the staff report to someone else your message as a manager may not get through as you would like. It makes managing traffic wardens much harder as they are in a different building and not under your direct control so communications are much harder. It tells us that the back office either haven't got a clue, or are turning down representations that they know they should accept in order to get money into the coffers, or that a simple error was made. It also tells you that parking client side at the council are probably not sufficiently resourced to keep a close enough eye on what NSL are doing in the name of the council. If they were, Mr Mustard wouldn't keep finding things that are wrong, the parking team would.

The PCN was for £60. Mr Mustard gives his time for free and now, in 2014, asks those people whose PCN is cancelled to make a donation to the North London Hospice. This is the first one who has told him the amount (Mr Mustard doesn't need to know but it is nice) and a very generous £50 is being paid. Whatever you can afford will help others who have much more to worry about than a parking ticket.

A story with a happy ending. Thank goodness the motorist was introduced to Mr Mustard as he was elderly and was stressed by the situation and nearly paid £30 (the 50% for fast payment) to get rid of the problem. Much better that funds go to the hospice rather than the council.

If you have been poorly treated please don't pay the council but get expert help.

Anyone want to bet how long it will be before the next incorrect scratching PCN lands on Mr Mustard's desk?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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